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Lambeth Conference set to explode over Resolution 1:10

By David W. Virtue, DD
July 25, 2022

The ink is barely dry on the Lambeth Calls: Guidance and Study Documents. Already the long knives are out, shredding the document over the appearance of Resolution 1:10, the biblical standard on human sexuality passed at LC-1998 by 526 to 70 affirming sex between a man and a woman in marriage; the alternative is abstinence.

Both revisionist bishops and orthodox bishops have gotten wind of the offending resolution buried deep in the study document. Both sides have come out with both barrels loaded, ready for bear.

Hoping to avoid potential schism over the issue, the palace's deep thinkers opted for "calls" to replace resolutions, hoping to move away from divisive decisions on contested issues in favor of guidance to be interpreted locally. The Archbishop of Canterbury is urging prayer to avoid calamity.

Doing their best to damp down open warfare, Bishop Emma Ineson, said that paragraph was simply a statement of fact and reflects the mind of the majority at the conference. It was presented in a section on human dignity and should be seen in context.

It was a clever move, but it hasn't worked.

The Bishop of Los Angeles, John Harvey Taylor, in a sharply worded note on his blog called it a "Bait-and-switch Lambeth Conference". Here's his take; "We'll be issued electronic voting devices and asked, among other things, to vote on (they call it "affirm," so I guess they're electronic affirmation devices) Lambeth's notorious, communion-rivening statement in 1998, known as Lambeth I.10, that biblical marriage can only be between a man and a woman. If we don't vote yes, we can vote that a question needs more discernment. As of now, we won't be able to stand up decisively for people's God-given human rights and vote no."

Bishop Susan Brown Snook of The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego weighed in saying; "Anglicans and Episcopalians are about to arrive in Canterbury as credulous props for what is likely to be a majority vote against marriage equity."

Bishop Betsey Monnot of the Diocese of Iowa weighed in saying the conference is structured to lead to a predetermined and discriminatory outcome. "Rather than simply saying that member churches of the Anglican Communion differ on the definition of marriage, which is true, the Lambeth Conference is designed to make the false and profoundly hurtful statement that marriage is limited to one man and one woman."

She also blasted out that electronic devices only allowed two options 'yes' and 'this requires further discernment.' There is no way to register a clear "no" opinion.

The Bishop of Maryland, Eugene Sutton, tried to soften the revelation by saying that the Anglican Communion is not a judicial body, it is a communion. He would rather not see resolutions on issues of incredible diversity of opinions and deeply held beliefs.

He did admit that TEC was in a minority on issues of human sexuality. "The Episcopal Church has consistently pushed boundaries, ordaining the first woman bishop and "archbishop", and the first gay bishop in 2003, after which it was suspended from the communion. it has since allowed same sex marriage."

The Bishop of Arizona, Jennifer Anne Reddall, in a spiel asked, "The Lambeth Calls for Whom? I cannot support a document that proclaims God's love and support for the dignity of some humans, but not others."

"The very idea of voting on anything is explicitly different from what we had been led to expect from this conference. No longer are we focused on developing relationships across differences; now we are focused on establishing what sort of differences are allowed--and what sort are not."

"Bishops from The Episcopal Church and other provinces that affirm the dignity and full participation of LGBTQ+ individuals in all the sacraments of the church will participate in a conference that is structured to lead to a predetermined and discriminatory outcome."

"It is simply not true that there is a single mind in the Anglican Communion about same-sex marriage. A number of bishops who are attending will be doing so while their same-sex spouses gather in Canterbury, excluded from the conference as a whole. A number of provinces--not just the Episcopal Church--offer marriage equality, or are on the way to doing so," said Reddall.

"It is hard not to assume that this is intentional. And it has left a poor taste in my mouth as I prepare for Lambeth. There ought to be no deceit in following Christ."

The Scottish Episcopal Church's College of Bishops said "the wording of that "call" does not represent the position of the Scottish Episcopal Church as reflected in the Church's Canons, which recognises that there are differing understandings of marriage in the SEC."

Kevin Holdsworth, Provost of St. Mary's Cathedral, Glasgow came right out and said The Lambeth Conference is homophobic by design.

"This isn't actually about same-sex couples any more. Actually, it never was, it was always about power, but it has seemed to be about same-sex relationships to many up until now. It doesn't help for our bishops in Scotland to maintain that narrative any longer."

On the other side of the theological aisle, Sudanese Archbishop Justin Badi warned Welby and the Lambeth Conference of bishops that they cannot ignore Resolution 1:10 as "the official teaching of the Anglican Communion."

In a video addressed to "Dear [orthodox primate, archbishop, moderators and bishops]", Badi welcomed his hearers to GSFA, with a prayer to foster the unity of the orthodox while being a faithful witness and defender of the faith once delivered.

The evangelical Anglican archbishop sounded a clarion call to biblical faithfulness, which means to seek direct affirmation of Resolution 1:10 of Lambeth Conference 1998 as the official teaching of the Anglican Church on marriage. Badi called on provinces to align their faith and order accordingly.

Clearly, Justin Welby failed to anticipate the pushback, not primarily from orthodox bishops, but from revisionist bishops from several provinces who won't let him off the hook.

This will be Welby's Waterloo. He will do the Lambeth walk with no theological clothes, his hopes for reconciliation and an irenic conference now laid bare and in tatters.


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